How Higher Education Reproduces Inequity
In Lean Semesters, Sekile M. Nzinga argues that the corporatized university—long celebrated as a purveyor of progress and opportunity—actually systematically indebts and disposes of Black women's bodies, their intellectual contributions, and their potential en masse. Insisting that "shifts" in higher education must recognize such unjust dynamics as intrinsic, not tangential, to the operation of the neoliberal university, Nzinga draws on candid interviews with thirty-one Black women at various stages of their academic careers. Their richly varied experiences reveal why underrepresented women of color are so vulnerable to the compounded forms of exploitation and inequity within the late capitalist terrain of this once-revered social institution.
Amplifying the voices of promising and prophetic Black academic women by mapping the impact of the current of higher education on their lives, the book's collective testimonies demand that we place value on these scholars' intellectual labor, untapped potential, and humanity. It also illuminates the ways past liberal feminist "victories" within academia have yet to become accessible to all women. Informed by the work of scholars and labor activists who have interrogated the various forms of inequity produced and reproduced by institutions of higher education under neoliberalism, Lean Semesters serves as a timely and accessible call to action.
About the Author
"Deepening academic and activist conversations on the neoliberal university by bringing an intersectional woman-of-color critique to critical university studies, feminist analyses of higher education, and research on the academic lives of women of color in higher education, this astute book is the first to offer a detailed, layered, and specific understanding of Black academic women's position in the restructured university. Dr. Nzinga shows that Black women are 'contingent' even before they enter the university. Lean Semesters offers a complex understanding of how the political economy of the university actually works, making this book a theoretical and activist game changer. It will alter the field and move it forward."—Katie Hogan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, coeditor of Over Ten Million Served: Gendered Service in Language and Literature Workplaces
"This original and necessary book maps the lived impact of neoliberalism and names the opaque ways in which the market practices of contemporary higher education institutions are compounding inequity for Black women in the twenty-first century. Readers will find themselves traveling the invisible trails and listening to the hushed conversations that Nzinga and her colleagues have had to follow on this unpublished map. Lean Semesters will stay with me forever."—Caprice Lawless, Front Range Community College
"Relevant and timely! Nzinga exposes the structural injustices within higher education systems that indebt, exploit, and delegitimize Black women academicians. Lean Semesters centers the experiences of Black women in academia and should be required reading for all individuals undertaking higher education diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives."—Christina M. Barnett, Counseling Psychology Doctoral Candidate, Virginia Commonwealth University
|The Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Critical University Studies|
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